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Polack hopeful of CAF CC group stage berth

Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack explains a point to skipper Kenneth Muguna during the CAF Champions League match against Algeria’s USM Alger at the Kasarani Stadium on September 29, 2019

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 30 – Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack hopes his side can conjure a qualification to the CAF Confederation Cup group stages for a third consecutive time as consolation for missing out on their primary objective of progressing in the Champions League.

Gor were relegated to the second tier Confederation Cup play-off after a 6-1 aggregate loss to Algerian side USM Alger and will be in Wednesday evening’s draw to find out who they will be paired with for a chance in the group stages.

“If we look at the two legs (vs USM), we could have made history. That’s what we wanted but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. It is a learning process and next time we will do better. Now we have to go to the Confederation Cup, first hopefully we get a good draw and then we fight to get to the group stages,” the tactician told Capital Sport.

Gor failed to win at home after suffering a 4-1 loss in Algeria two weeks ago. They were beaten 2-0 in Nairobi, a match that Polack admits they would have won had they taken their chances early.

“I am disappointed to lose but honestly I loved the character of the players after we went 2-0 down. We kept on fighting and showed good character. We had 12 chances to score that I counted and this was one of the matches where we could have played till tomorrow and not score. Maybe if we did things would have been different,” the tactician stated.

Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack with his assistant Patrick Odhiambo during the CAF Champions League match against Algeria’s USM Alger at the Kasarani Stadium on September 29, 2019

“I wouldn’t say they are much better than us but in football if you make mistakes you were punished. It was some individual mistakes but in football we win and lose as a team,” further stated the coach.

Meanwhile, the tactician was only short of admitting that their numerical disadvantage played a huge role in their failure to turn things around against Alger.

Polack only had four defensive options on the bench against Alger as a result of the team failing to register players on time.

“Well when I came in that was the situation at the club when I came in. Definitely if I was here before things would have been different,” the coach noted.

Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack during the CAF Champions League match against Algeria’s USM Alger at the Kasarani Stadium on September 29, 2019

As they await to know who they will face in the play-off round for a third shot at the Confederation Cup group stage, Gor will swing their attention to their Kenyan Premier League title defense with a game against Nzoia Sugar awaiting them on Wednesday afternoon in Mumias.

Polack believes the loss to USM will not deter their drive and confidence, saying they will look to get back into winning ways for the tie.

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“We have to pick ourselves up. There is nothing to be ashamed of and we have to move forward with more confidence. We have a league match which we need to win and I believe we will be in the right frame of mind to play and win,” stated the coach.

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